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'We Would Have Been Dead': 2 Apartment Buildings Destroyed In Route 30 Collapse

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EAST PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Two apartment buildings were destroyed when part of Route 30 collapsed in East Pittsburgh on Saturday.

"By the grace of God, I thank the Lord Jesus Christ that we got out in time because the way that building looked today, we would have been dead," said Andrea Knox.

Electric Avenue apartment collapse route 30
Photo Courtesy: KDKA Photographer Tim Lawson

Knox lived in one of the two buildings at Electric Avenue Apartments that was destroyed after part of Route 30 in East Pittsburgh came crumbling down early Saturday morning. A total of eight residents lived in the two buildings that collapsed.

"Unexpected. Never thought I wouldn't have a home to go back to," said Knox.

KDKA-TV's Amy Wadas talked to Knox at the Comfort Inn in Penn Hills where she is being housed by PennDOT for the time being. That's where Carmella Lee is too.

"I have a weeks worth of clothes that's it," said Lee. "I've got nothing."

electric avenue apartment demolition
(Photo Credit: KDKA Photojournalist Fletcher Rumbaugh)

Lee and Knox were both evacuated from their buildings on Friday.

"My mom and dad passed away. I lost their pictures. I lost absolutely everything," said Lee.

"The hero in this is the police chief. Yesterday at 2 o'clock she evacuated all the residents in the building that came down and the building adjacent to it," said John Katz.
John Katz is the president of the Brandywine Agency which is the leasing agency that operates Electric Avenue Apartments.

Crews have been clearing away debris all Saturday evening. Nearby, a white home sits and there's only a matter of time before it could go too.

electric avenue apartment demolition
(Photo Credit: KDKA Photojournalist Bryce Lutz)

But for some residents, they're trying to keep a positive outlook.

"So it's one day at a time. One day at a time. We got our life thank God," said Knox. This is a new beginning."

PennDOT said it will be reimbursing the property owner of the apartment building and find a new housing for these renters.

As for the homeowner of that white home, PennDOT officials said they will be compensating them because from the looks of that hill, the house will likely being coming down too, whether it's from the slide itself or if crews tear it down.

PennDOT has also added a new westbound detour to try and alleviate traffic congestion.

To view the Route 30 detours, click here.

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